Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sleeping on my side

I am one week post op.  My colon is gone.  I have an ostomy bag.  I have stitches, and bruises.  I have a walker.  I am limping less.  I will have scars.  I do not have ulcerative colitis.  I have phantom feelings like I have to go to the bathroom like the average person does, but I don't, because I don't go to the bathroom that way anymore.  I have bottles of drugs in my bathroom that don't really belong there.  I am learning to manage my pain.  My sense of smell and taste have changed, though I am told that this is temporary.

I have been struggling to write this blog post because my feelings are changing so rapidly.  One minute I am strong and feeling like "you've got this Deb!", and the next I am sitting on the couch crying.  I struggle to put my feelings into words because I am sure that within the next hour they may change.  I am told that all of these things are normal, and I need to be patient with myself.  Patience. I have no trouble being patient with 24 first graders, but when you ask me to be patient with myself, well that is another story.

I am worried about unfamiliar things - things that I never had to worry about before.
I am a little afraid to leave the house, though I know that tomorrow I will force myself to do it.  At least for a little while.  Maybe 30 minutes.  And then maybe the next day an hour.  And then maybe I will have some of my friends over to visit.  And all of this will help me begin to feel like me.
I wonder what is in the space that my colon used to be.  Does the small intestine now get to stretch out a little?  Is it just an empty void?  Will I feel hollow?

I think that before the surgery I had this feeling that I would no longer be me after the surgery.  That somehow I would change.  And that upset me, because at 48 years old, I have finally gotten to the point where I really like me.  I am comfortable with who I am.   And I am slowly coming to realize that though my body has changed, the essence of who I am is really no different.  It hit me a few days after the surgery in the hospital when Adam was visiting.  I had to practice my breathing using the spectrometer.  Inhaling and making the ball move up and down.  And like two pre-teens we were laughing about balls and blowing - the same things we would have laughed at before my surgery.  It felt comfortable and normal.

Last night I slept.  I woke up in the wee hours of the morning and I realized I had slept on my side. Not my stomach like I used to, and not my back like I thought I would have to, but on my side.  So for right now, that is good enough.

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